Building and Construction Trades

The Construction Industry offers you the opportunity to create and build.  The work is exciting, challenging and very demanding!

The contruction industry has literally shaped your surroundings. The streets, sidewalks, utilities, factories, schools, office buildings, houses, apartments buildings, bridges and dams were produced by construction workers.

Options for career opportunities in construction trades are almost limitless.  Learn more by watching this video "Hot Jobs, Cool Careers"


Bricklayers & Allied Crafts

Bricklayers and allied crafts construct walls, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys  and other structures from brick. They use other masonry materials such as concrete, cinder or gypsum block, pre-cast panels made of brick, cement, tile, stone, marble, structural tile, or terra cotta. They install the brick linings of individual kilns and furnaces.


Carpenters measure, saw, level and nail wood and other building materials.  They install tile and insulation, acoustical ceiling, cabinets, siding and much more. They work with many tools and materials to build houses, erect skyscrapers, and construct bridges, tunnels and highways. Work includes rough and finish carpentry, forms for concrete work and many other specialties.

Electrical Workers

For electrical workers, much of the work involves installation, assembling, testing, repairing, layout and design of electrical wiring, fixtures and apparatus used for power, light, heating, air conditioning and many types of control systems. Many electrical jobs now incorpate computers.

Insulators - Mechanical / Heat and Frost

This work covers industrial, commercial, and transportation insulation applications, as well as the expanding field of cryogenics.  Industrial applications include such areas as the chemical process petrochemical and power generation industries. Commercial work covers plumbing and mechanical services and refrigerated spaces. Transportation includes the insulation of ships, trucks, trailoers and railroad cars. Heat and Frost Insulators also perform fire stopping applications for mechanical and electrical services, and for bulding enclosures.

Iron Workers

Iron workers are skilled workers who erect, assemble or install fabricated structural metal products, usually large metal beams, in the erection of industrial, commercial or large residential buildings.  Sturctural iron workers erect the steel framework of bridges and buildings. Reinforcing rod iron workers set steel bars or steel mesh in concrete forms to strengthen concrete in buildings and bridges. Ornamental iron workers install metal stairways, catwalks, gratings, grills, screens, fences and decorative ironwork. The rigger is an iron worker whose job is to move heavy machinery, using rollers, forklifts and other sources of power.

Operating Engineers

Operating engineers operate and maintain heavy and portable construction equipment, Work includes operation and maintenance of construction equipment such as bulldozers, graders and cranes, scrapers, endloaders, and asphalt plants, rollers and pumps, etc. on all types of projects that include highways, commercial, industrial, residential, underground, etc. The Operating Engineer is generally employed int he bulding of highways, airports, buldings, waterways, stadiums and sewers.


Painters work indoors and outdoors. Most work is done more than 10 feet off of the ground (towers, tall buldings, etc.). Incudes preparing surfaces of buildings and other structures and then applying paint by means of brushers, rollers or sprayers. Painters work with Varnish, enamels, lacquer and other materials. They may also paint interior rooms or cover walls with paper, fabric, vinyls or other materials (paperhangers).  They must also be able to mix paints as well as do sandblasting and waterblasting.

Plumbers / Pipefitters / HVACR Service Technicians

Plumbers / Pipefitters / HVACR Service Technicians are responsible for the installation of water line systems to kitchens, bathrooms, lavatories, etc. in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.  They install natural gas and air lines. assembles. They also install and repair pipes, fittings and fixtures according to specifications and plumbing codes. They measure, cut, thread, bend, install and test pipes and pipe fittings.  Work is done according to specifications and working drawings to perform the work required in sequence of installations.

Sheetmetal Workers

Sheetmetal workers fabricate and install ducts used in heating, venilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  In addition, they fabricate and install other products such as metal roof decks, architectural sheet metal products, paint ovens, spray booths, dust collecting systems, and food service equipment. Work is laid out on metal sheets from blueprints, formed, fabricated and installed on the job site.


West Michigan Construction Alliance - labor-management organization composed of construction contractor organizations, contractors, organized labor and affiliate members.